Math tutoring adds up

By Kaitlin Hicks
In math, letters are supposed to equal numbers, and sometimes symbols just don’t make sense. Everything becomes a jumble after you’ve been staring at equations for hours. You might be tempted to just shut your math book and walk away. But Fitchburg State has a resource where you are able to walk in and receive help in just about any math subject offered here. The Math Center is located on the third floor of the library in room 322.
Thomas Driscoll, FSU’s Academics Support Specialist, says, “we have a website that people can go to see tutors’ hours of availability and what those tutors’ specialties are.” Tutors who work in the math center are students who have received a 3.5 or higher GPA in their specialty. They have also gone through a ten-hour tutoring program.The program teaches tutors how to help any type of learner, the best study methods, and how to get the most out of any textbook.
Driscoll encourages students to try math or other tutoring: “Tutoring through the math center is supposed to be pro-active not reactive. We’d like to see students come in at the start of the class and get additional support rather than waiting to see if they understand the content. We like to share other ways to learn the materials.”  Tutors are not going to do students’ homework for them. Tutors explain difficult concepts in broader terms. This will help students improve their long-term studying habits.
Tutors also want to see students come in for assistance. “Math shouldn’t be scary,” says math tutor Nikki Gilford. “If a student finds it challenging, they should feel comfortable coming in and seeing one of the many awesome math tutors.”
Driscoll also understands that math is a subject many struggle with. “But not every student comes in,” he says. “Math is a high anxiety class and most majors take only one math class. We’d like to see as many students as possible come in at one time or another.” Whether you’re really struggling or just have a quick question, every student should utilize the math center.
You can walk into the Tutor Center between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday to request a tutor. You can also call the office at 978-665-3499 or fill out the tutor form at It’s easy to get in touch with someone who wants to help you succeed. “I enjoy seeing students have that a-ha moment where they finally understand the material,” says Gilford.